Even as cryptocurrencies soar in value, the undergirding blockchain technology just might be the most important outcome of the cryptocurrency mania sweeping the world.
The Brookings Institution describes blockchains as “novel and highly disruptive.” What’s more, research and consulting firm Deloitte wrote, “If you’re not up to speed on blockchain, you need to be.” That’s because the blockchain’s distributed ledger system is capable of a lot more than just accounting for Bitcoin.
Indeed, blockchain development is happening quickly. Big banks, government institutions and Fortune 500 companies are all pursuing the latest iterations of this technology. Moreover, there are hundreds of blockchain startups launching through the initial coin offering (ICO) process, and these companies are making the technology more relevant and more accessible than ever. In short, blockchain technology isn’t just revolutionizing the accounting practices of large businesses. It’s making inroads into our everyday lives — even into our very living rooms.
Video Streaming Service StreamSpace
StreamSpace is a blockchain startup for on-demand video streaming. There are a lot of ways to break down the numbers, but the overwhelming consensus is that people, especially younger generations, are more interested in streaming video from Netflix or Hulu than they are in paying for a cable subscription. Content creators are flocking to places like YouTube, and companies as large as Facebook and Apple are trying to master this marketplace.
For content creators, StreamSpace represents security from piracy and the opportunity to control distribution and to set prices. Meanwhile, consumers enjoy personalized recommendations and unique content that comes directly from content producers. As cord cutters become more common, blockchain platforms like StreamSpace are helping content producers capitalize on their projects while also giving consumers exactly what they want: instant access to incredible content.
Artists Join the Ranks
He may not be a household name, but EDM recording artist RAC made history last month when he became the first recording artist to release an entire album for sale on the blockchain. His album “Ego” was released on the Ethereum blockchain and is purchasable using Ethereum’s native currency, ether.
RAC isn’t the first artist to have this idea. In 2015, Imogen Heap released a single, “Tiny Human,” on the blockchain. In a June 2017 article for the Harvard Business Review, the artist wrote, “Blockchain has the potential to provide a more quick and seamless experience for anyone involved with creating or interacting with music.”
The music industry is already undergoing a period of reorientation. Music streaming services are replacing traditional album sales. Artists including Taylor Swift have complained about the financial inefficacy of this model, and the blockchain stands as a solution for fairly compensating artists while also accommodating our new listening habits.
IBM’s Watson IoT Initiative
There are already billions of devices connected to the internet. This phenomenon includes everything from Nest thermostats to the smart home devices that we all received during the holidays. However, these devices are frighteningly vulnerable to cyber attacks. As an unfortunate family who had its baby monitor hacked reminds us, there is a real need to secure these devices. IBM’s Watson Internet of Things (IoT) platform is on the forefront of mitigating security concerns by using the blockchain.
“IBM Blockchain provides the private blockchain infrastructure of distributed peers that replicates the device data and validates the transaction through secure contracts,” explains IBM’s service page.
But before we can comfortably place IoT devices throughout our living spaces, we need the security of the blockchain to ensure that they are as safe as they are convenient.
The blockchain isn’t a new service. It’s a better way to enact the types of services that we already love. Like StreamSpace for video, or RAC in the music scene, IBM’s Watson is helping ensure that technology’s full potential makes our lives better.
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